The Versatility of Abrasive Blasting
Abrasive – or sand blasting, as it is traditionally known, is widely used by many industries, and it involves cleaning a hard surface by forcing at high pressure, minute particles that remove paint and rust, leaving the surface completely clean. Once a surface has been sand blasted, it is ready for protective coatings, and in industries like mining and offshore drilling, heavy equipment is exposed to serious weather conditions, and needs to be coated with protective paint or other materials.
Range of Mediums
In the early days of abrasive blasting, sand was used, due to its properties, and we eventually discovered that blasting with sand can cause silicosis, and consequently, sand is rarely used as a blasting medium. There are many different materials that are used in abrasive blasting, which include the following:
- Walnut shell
- Coconut shell
- Steel grit
- Copper slag
Health and safety are a prime concern, and the operator would wear protective clothing and a mask when blasting.
Tailored to the Material
Due to the many different media that can be used for abrasive blasting, there is always one that is perfect for a specific job. The surface might be delicate, in which case a soft bead could be used to clean, as this will not damage the delicate surface, or it might be industrial grade steel, which can withstand anything, then a harder medium would be used. In Western Australia, there are many mining companies that are in need of sand blasting in Perth or surrounding areas, and if you would like to know more about having surfaces cleaned and prepared in this way, an online search will point you in the right direction.
Modern abrasive blasting uses state of the art equipment, with a high pressure air compressor, the right material as a medium, and the right sized nozzles. Modern solutions include portable abrasive units, which can be used in any environment, and with safety always paramount, most jobs can be completed very quickly, cutting out expensive labour costs. Imagine how long it would take to prepare a car body for spraying if it was done manually! A sandblaster would have the job done in less than two hours, and there would be nothing missed.
Usually, the abrasive blasting is a precursor to applying a protective coating, as with metal surfaces, and in order for the coating to bond well, the surface needs to be completely free of dirt, grime and old paint. Abrasive blasting fires the medium at very high pressure, which effectively removes everything, leaving a clean surface that is ready for the coating. A heavy piece of machinery that works at a mine, for example, gets very dirty, and after a while, the protective paints become worn, and after the machine has been blasted, new coats of protective paint can be applied, giving the machine the ultimate protection.
If you require sand blasting for a commercial or domestic project, there are online companies who do nothing else, and they would be only too happy to quote for the job.